Field data from 27 estuaries of the Americas are used to show that, in broad terms, there is a large difference in turbidity between the analyzed east and west-coast estuaries and that tidal range and tidal length have an important influence on that turbidity. Generic, numerical sediment-transport modeling is used to illustrate this influence, which exists over a range of space scales from, e.g., the Rogue River Estuary (few km, few mg l−1) to the Bay of Fundy (hundreds of km, few g l−1). The difference in Pacific and Atlantic seaboard estuarine turbidity for the analyzed estuaries is ultimately related to the broad-scale geomorphology of the two continents.
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Vol. 2005 • No. 214